Davis, retired pastor, dies at 91
by Sam Matthews / Tracy Press
Jan 10, 2013 | 2082 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A celebration of life will be Saturday, Jan. 12, for the Rev. Stanford Allen Davis, 91, retired pastor of the First Presbyterian Church and an effective advocate for the homeless, poor and elderly.

He died early Friday morning, Jan. 4, at Alexander Cohen Hospice House in Hughson following a short illness.

Born Dec. 14, 1921, in Klamath Falls, Ore., Rev. Davis grew up in Ashland, Ore., and graduated in 1940 from Ashland High School.

He attended Oregon State University for two years before entering the Army in 1942 following the United States’ entry into World War II.

Rev. Davis served as a sergeant in Army units on New Guinea and in the Philippines before duty in occupied Japan.

After the war, he re-entered Oregon State and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1949.

He managed a lumber company in Sparks, Nev., and then entered San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo in 1953. He received a Master of Divinity degree in 1957.

Rev. Davis served more than 10 years as pastor of Centennial Presbyterian Church, an integrated congregation in Oakland, where he served on an inner-city housing task force.

In 1967, he came to Tracy to become pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, a position he held for 20 years before retiring in 1987.

Upon retiring, Rev. Davis said he and his wife, Patricia, planned to continue living in Tracy.

“I still have some projects that I want to continue to be involved in,” he said.

A major continuing involvement was serving as the lead organizer and first president of the board of directors of McHenry House Tracy Family Shelter. The effort began in 1986 when Rev. Davis and Hannah Toomey, a seminary student, launched a survey to find a possible location for a homeless shelter in Tracy.

Opening of the homeless shelter in 1988 followed more than two years of efforts to organize and fund the project, which was realized when the board purchased the home of Burton and Barbara Fitzpatrick at the corner of West Ninth and A streets.

Members of the organizing committee credited Rev. Davis’ vision and organizing abilities as major factors in making McHenry House a reality.

He also played a role in laying the foundation for Tracy Interfaith Ministries.

In his final years as pastor, Rev. Davis and his congregation started what was originally called the First Presbyterian Church Food Closet. That effort was expanded to include clothing and to involve all interested denominations in Tracy to form Tracy Interfaith Ministries, beginning in 1988.

After retiring from the ministry, Rev. Davis also served three years as director of the San Joaquin County Food Bank operated in Tracy by Good Samaritan Community Services.

He was a member of the 1973 San Joaquin County Grand Jury and a member of the countywide task force for long-term care for the elderly.

Most recently, he was involved in helping organize a community garden on the Presbyterian Church’s property on MacArthur Drive and as a member of the Tracy Senior Citizen Advocacy Group, which has worked to coordinate programs for seniors.

Rev. Davis had been a longtime member of the Tracy Rotary Club and enjoyed sipping coffee and engaging in conversation in the daily coffee group that started in the Tracy Inn Coffee Shop and eventually moved to McDonald’s on West 11th Street.

Survivors include two daughters, Katherine Davis Danes of San Luis Obispo and Caroline Elizabeth “Libby” Barbaria of Castro Valley; two sons, David Davis of Springfield, Mo., and Brian Davis of Scotts Valley; 12 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Also surviving is a sister, Jane Thompson of Portland, Ore.

His wife of 62 years, Patricia Davis, preceded him in death in December 2008.

The Saturday celebration of life will begin at 4 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 101 Berverdor Ave.

The family prefers memorial contributions in Rev. Davis’s name to the First Presbyterian Church, 101 Berverdor Ave., Tracy, CA 95376; or McHenry House Tracy Family Shelter, 757 A St., Tracy, CA 95376.

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